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Arkell's Ark: Dark Age Mentality

"When I was back visiting Australia during the Mary MacKillop canonisation circus, I couldnít believe the frenzy surrounding this latest PR exercise from the Catholic Church. Iíve always taken Australians to be a fairly rational, level headed and sensible people, but Iím beginning to have serious doubts,'' writes Ian Arkell.

We seem to have daily claims of extra miracles courtesy of the kindly Ms MacKillop. Cures attributed to the pasting on of a photograph of the good lady over the site of a tumour as a prelude to a full recovery etc. Give me an almighty break. This is Dark Age buffoonery at its worst. Then thereís the wooden cross with a couple of her hairs that will be presented to the Pope. Really. Might it not be more productive if less energy was expended on this circus act and instead directed to far more important issues?

Would not all this focus, this adoration and razzamatazz, be better directed towards repairing the image of the church around the world? Would it not be better directed towards addressing the role of pederast priests and the lasting impact on their victims?

Or is the church more concerned with giving the faithful bread and circuses, so as to divert attention away from the more structural problems? The perpetrators of these abuses do not need to be forgiven or transferred or undergo penance. They need to be identified, tried in a court of law and if found guilty, punished accordingly; regardless of their age.

Why is this so difficult? And no, people are not tired of hearing about such abuse. People need to keep hammering away at the problem and shame the Church into action.

Mary MacKillop herself suffered due to her criticism of a pederast priest. What would she think of the church today? Would she be proud to see the deterioration of trust within the church? Would she wonder why the church seems to be imploding, with one scandal after another around the world, giving the impression that the churchís abuse problems are endemic, with the CEO, once termed the ĎPopeís Rottweilerí regarding abuse, seemingly powerless or uncaring. I think the laity and especially the victims of abuse over the decades want more than platitudes, prayers and prevarication.

Look, from what Iíve read, Ms MacKillop seems to have been a fantastic person, who cared for and about people and was concerned with social injustice and the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. Itís just a shame that todayís Catholic hierarchy hasnít inherited her concern.

When Pope Benedict assumed responsibility for the millions of Catholics around the world, there was a tremendous opportunity for the church to make amends, shake off its Dark Age mentality and practices and to restore its credibility around the world.

Unfortunately it seems the Rottweiler has neither the teeth nor the ticker for the job.

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Do read Ian's gripping novel Whi Your Mates Are http://ianarkell.wordpress.com/

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